Recovering From Interview Blunders: Part 1

Avoid Interview BlundersInterviewing can be one of the scariest parts of the job search. While being asked to interview means a potential employer is interested and feels that you are qualified for the position, you still only have a short amount of time during that interview to promote the best possible you. From the moment you step into the building to the moment you leave the parking lot, your actions, words, and posture will be compared and contrasted with other potential candidates. It can feel like one false move could cost you a potential career.

That scenario can make anyone looking for a job, especially their first, seem dreadful. Interviews are as big of an opportunity for you as it is for the employer. It’s a chance for you to see if the company environment and position is right for you. But, it is still a nerve racking process for some, and what you do influences all employers final decision.

You may feel like making small mistakes will mean all hope is lost for getting the job, but don’t give up so soon! Check out these tips to help you quickly recover from a big blunder and still show an interviewer why you are right for the job.

Acknowledge the Mistake And Apologize

Interviewers are human too and often understanding of the pressure you feel, but they will expect some mild form of apology or redemption if you make a blatant error. If you end up being late and neglect to contact the interviewer, quickly apologize, but resist the temptation to make up an excuse, just state the facts.

Companies and leaders have faced tremendous scrutiny when hiding and ignoring their mistakes. Remember Enron? Transparency is important in today’s business world. If you openly admit to a mistake and apologize, the interviewer can be impressed by your genuine character.

People are more likely to forgive than what most of us might think. Owning up to your blunders can be very disarming, especially if you understand the value of the lesson you learned. If you walk in with a noticeable stain on your clothing, you can say, “I’m very sorry about the stain. I didn’t realize it was there. In the future I’ll bring an extra change of clothes.”

Sometimes it may take you a few bone-headed mistakes to learn your lesson. If anything, you’re now ready to face whatever comes your way and have a leg up for your next interview. Do you have any interview blunders? Please share what you’ve learned and how to become a better interviewee.

For part two, click here!


  1. John B

    Years ago I interviewed for a position with a well known telecommunications company for a tech position. The interview was in the manager’s office, which was several floors up in the building. While I was there, the window washers were working. The office had small (appx. a foot high) areas of the window that could be opened. The window washer squirted his cleaning solution, which went in the opening, across the desk, and straight into my eye. I tried to pretend nothing happened but very soon the tears started flowing. When the interviewer finally asked why I was crying, I told him I was squirted in the eye with window cleaning solution from “that guy right there”. He quickly apologized and sent me to the bathroom to wash my eyes out, while doing so I managed to get water all over the crotch of my gray suit, which made it look like I had wet myself! I didn’t get the chance to tell the interviewer the sink sprayed on me. I sat there the rest of the interview thinking “not a chance, why am I even bothering”. But I did get the job!

  2. John B

    The way I recovered is after I began work there my manager (the person who interviewed me) and I had some pretty good laughs about it! It really served to help me become part of the team quicker than most new people are accepted.
    Unfortunately, the company “went under” and was absorbed by another large telecommunications company. My time there was great though, a lot of good (and fun) people.

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